Industrial Technology and Innovation in the Classroom

Published: March 2, 2014 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

DSC_0034 WebMatthew Secl, Industrial Technology Teacher at Metro High School knows his students are kinetic learners. “They love to fix things—cars and electronics—and they are good at it,” he said.


So he applied to the Community Foundation’s Fund for Educational Excellence—which encourages innovation and collaboration in the classroom—when he had the idea to purchase a CNC router, or a computerized, controlled cutting machine, for his students to use.


Thanks to funding from the Community Foundation, Secl was able to purchase a CNC router, which he said has revolutionized his classroom.


While it took the students a while to warm up to the machine, once they did, their fascination with and imaginative applications for it haven’t let up.


Secl said he lets the students drive the ideas and projects. “They decide what they want to get out of the machine.” The list, he said, is long and their projects thus far, incredible. They’ve carved signs now hanging throughout the school. They’ve created garden sticks to label produce. And they’ve used the machine for Lego League classes—to recreate a robot arm to be exact. The students even created a candy bar mold and began producing custom candy bars!


This CNC router has enabled Metro High School students to not only learn machine and software skills that can transfer to manufacturing jobs, but it has also inspired projects that engage their entrepreneurial tendencies.


Perhaps most importantly, said Secl, is that it has made learning fun. “This machine has impacted these kids and makes school interesting to them.”

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